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Being a Good Friend

Friday, June 18, 2010

Be dependable. If your friend tells you something in confidence, don't tell tales about it to anyone else. Don't talk about your friend behind his/her back. Nobody likes a backstabber. Never say anything about your friend that you would not want to repeat face to face. Don't let others say bad things about your friend until you've had a chance to hear your friend's side of the story. If someone says something that shocks you and doesn't seem like a thing your friend would do or say, tell them, "I know him/her, and that just doesn't sound right. Let me talk to him/her, find out his/her viewpoint on this. If it turns out to be true, I'll let you know. Otherwise, I would value it if you didn't spread that around, because it might not be." You can't play both sides of the fence.

Be respectful. Know the limitations. Things you and your friend converse should be treated with care - your friend is not sharing this information with just anyone, and may not want to. She shared it with you - and only you, as far as you know. Example: If your friend doesn't want to name her crush, don't push her into it. If she has named her crush, don't tell anyone else. This is just common good manners anyone and everyone deserves the belief that you will keep confidences.
Be genuine. Are you trying to be friends with someone to be accepted into a certain circle, or because you'd like to get to be acquainted with someone else that he or she knows? That's not friendship, it's opportunism. Every new person you meet has the right to be acknowledged (or not) on his or her own qualities, it's better to just be yourself than let anyone else manipulate you into being someone you are not.

Be honest. An untruthful person has no likelihood of having true friends. Keep your promises, do what you say you are going to do, and most importantly, don't lie! Lying leads to more lies, and people will in due course figure you out. If you found yourself lying about something, be honest - go up to them, tell them the truth and how you felt, as well as how you may think they would've felt (explain that you were second-guessing rather than trusting your friendship). Don't be a coward; if you know you were at fault for the whole predicament, own up. Simply talk about it, hope your friend will forgive you. They'd most likely be grateful for it in the future, to look back and say, 'wow!' I have/had an wonderful friend by my side.

Help out friends during times of predicament. If your friend has to go to the hospital, you could help pack his or her bags; if her/his dog runs away, help to find it, if he/she needs someone to pick him/her up, be there. Take notes for your friend in school and give them their homework assignments when they're not present and sick at home. Send cards and care letters. If there is bereavement in his/her family, you might want to attend the memorial service or cook dinner for them. Care about your friend enough to help him or her open up and let tears roll. Give them a tissue and listen. You don't have to say anything, just be with them.

Watch out for your friend. If you sense that s/he is getting intoxicated at a party, help him or her to get away from the alcohol. Don't allow your friend to drive drunk - take his or her keys and/or drive your friend home personally. If your friend begins talking about running away or committing suicide, tell someone about it. This rule overrides the "respect privacy" step, because even if your friend begs you not to tell anyone, you should do it anyway. Recommend a help line or qualified person to your friend. Talk to your and your friend's parents or partner first (unless they are the ones causing the problems) before relating to anyone else.

Give guidance, add viewpoints. Don't judge your friend, but do counsel to stay out of situations where they may hurt themselves or others. Tell him/her how you perceive his/her circumstances, and what you might do in the same situation. Don't be slighted if they listen to your advice and then decide to ignore it. Your friend must make his or her own decisions. Avoid saying "You should... ".

If your friend is going through a crisis, don't advise them everything is going to be all right if it's not going to be. This goes right along with keeping it real. It's hard not to say this sometimes, but false faith can often be worse than none, and it may chip away at your friend's capacity to get through the crisis as well as they might. Instead, tell your friend that whatever they need, you are there for them. If they need to talk, talk; if they need to sit quietly, sit with them; if they need to get their mind off things, take them to a movie or concert. Give them a hug. You are friends, not strangers, after all. Just stay honest, but upbeat and positive. Even a stranger would most probably appreciate it.

Give your friend space. Appreciate if he/she wants to be without help or hang out with other people. Allow it to occur. There's no need to become over possessive or deprived. Allowing one another the time to hang with other friends gives you much-needed breathing room, and allows you to come together fresh and appreciating each other even more.

Don't be selfish. Grabbing, stealing and begging are big NOs in the convention of friendship. The friend will soon get weary of this and eventually more towards more selfless people who are enthusiastic to give what they get.

Never make a pledge you know you can't keep. Good friendship is based on belief - if you break a friend's trust, the friendship may be very hard to recoup. Of course, if you have made a promise and planned to keep it, but situations beyond your power combine to prevent it, let your friend know as soon as you find out. Don't wait until the last minute to call and say, "I'm sorry." Instead, a quick call to say, "Hey, I know I promised to help you with whatever it is, but something unexpected came up and that means I won't be able to make it. I'm so sorry. Can we postpone?" That's just respecting the fact that, given a little notice, your friend might be able to get someone else to help with whatever it was - or not, whatever. But at least you won't be hanging your friend out on the dryers.

Listen to them. You don't have to agree with them - just listen to what they have to say. Make sure they are talking too and you are not just running your mouth. Some people don't really find it fascinating listening to someone talk about their thoughts 24/7. If you're monopolizing every dialogue with your feelings, they aren't getting anything out of the friendship. Encourage them to share their hearts with you as often as you share yours with them.

Learn to share. As before, if you have a selfless friend, they will look forward to something back, even if they don't make it apparent. This does not necessarily mean giving them large costly gifts. This can just mean being there for them when they need you.

Don't exploit their bigheartedness or "wear out your welcome" If your friend does something nice for you, then give in return. Money doesn't have to be an issue. Don't make use of your friends! Don't let them pay every time you go out, even if they offer. Don't help yourself to things at their house without asking, unless you are prepared that they do the same at your house. No one wants to be friends with a taker or feel used. If you borrow something from a friend, take good care of it and then return it without being asked. Also, if you end the friendship then you should return any gifts they bought for you, especially if they gave you any gifts under false pretenses. It's proper decorum.

Live by the golden rule. Always take care of a friend as you would want to be treated. If you don't there will be repercussions. Don't do or say anything to them that you wouldn't want done to you. Be there for them through thick and thin as long as they are a TRUE friend to you. Also learn to forgive, and ask for forgiveness. Don’t be a little horror!

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